How to Use 19-6-12 Slow-Release Plant Food on a Fruit Tree


Fertilizer identified as 19-6-12 is high-nitrogen plant food. According to agriculturists with the North Carolina State University Extension Service, nitrogen is the most important nutrient for increasing a plant’s growth. The second number, the 6, represents phosphorous, which promotes, among other things, flowering and fruit production. The last number, 12, represents potassium, which is involved in several processes--photosynthesis and the regulation of water are two. Because 19-6-12 fertilizer is a slow-release formula, it will release the nutrients at a measured rate over a period of time. Using slow-release fertilizers cuts down on the number of times per year you will need to apply it.

Step 1

Remove any mulch, leaf litter and other debris from beneath the fruit tree.

Step 2

Add the fertilizer to the broadcast spreader, at the rate suggested on the package, and scatter it under the canopy of the tree and 2 feet beyond.

Step 3

Rake the fertilizer into the top inch of soil.

Step 4

Water the fertilized area to activate the product. You don’t need to saturate the soil, but make sure you provide at least 1/2 inch of water.

Step 5

Lay down fresh mulch over the fertilized area, if desired.

Tips and Warnings

  • Fertilizers may contain chemicals that are poisonous. Read and follow all label directions, wear protective clothing during application, and store the fertilizer out of the reach of children and pets.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake Broadcast spreader Mulch (optional)


  • North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Service: A Gardener’s Guide To Ferlitizing Trees and Shrubs
  • “Soil Fertility and Fertilizers”; Samuel L. Tisdale, Werner L. Nelson, James D. Beaton, John L. Havlin; 1993
Keywords: apply 19-6-12 fertilizer, slow release fertilizer, bareroot tree care, fertilize fruit tree

About this Author

Victoria Hunter has been a freelance writer since 2005, specializing in gardening-related topics and the real estate industry. She is a former broadcaster and real estate agent who has provided audio and written services to small businesses and large corporations worldwide. She writes for, GardenGuides and ProFlowers, among others. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.